Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Sports | By Spencer Underwood

Michigan Basketball: National Media Outlets Pick Michigan For Final Four

Michigan Basketball: National Media Outlets Pick Michigan For Final Four

The No. 3 Michigan State Spartans will take on the No. 14 Bucknell Bison in the NCAA basketball tournament Midwest Region Round 1 on Friday, start time at 6:30 PM ET, at Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI.

Tip-off between the University of Northern Colorado and MI is set for 3 p.m. MST, and the game will air on ESPN2.

(8) Seton Hall vs. (9) N.C. State - This I think is a tremendous matchup between two teams that are much better than where they are seeded. That did not happen, but they avoided being sent to far-flung spots like Idaho, Kansas or San Diego.

"We feel that we are an actual contender to win this thing", said sophomore Cassius Winston, a U-D Jesuit grad. In typical Tom Izzo fashion, this Spartan team is rugged on the glass, sweeping away defensive rebounds and grabbing offensive boards to keep possessions alive.

"It is a heck of a feat". The 7-seed the Wolverines earned is their highest seed ever in five previous NCAA Tournament appearances. "That was my ultimate goal the day I got this job: Can we make this a consistent victor?" These schools have met one time, with Michigan State taking a 64-52 decision in East Lansing in November 2003. And while the Big Ten advanced only four teams, Purdue, Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State are all No. 5 seeds or better.

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"Thirteen games in a row, I think it is", head coach Kamie Ethridge said. We've said this all along, as a program if we give back to the community, they're going to give back to us.

The Bucknell Bison (25-9) are coming from an 83-54 win over Colgate to capture the Patriot League title. Teams seeded 13 through 15 have only 28 opening-game wins in the past 18 years and not a single one advanced last year.

MSU has only once previously played Bucknell, a 64-52 victory at Breslin Center on November 21, 2003.

MI was ranked the entire year until it lost four of five games to start February. Last season, UConn came into the NCAAs as the overwhelming favorite before their 111-game winning streak ended with a loss to Mississippi State in the Final Four. MI will have had 10 full days off inbetween winning the conference tournament and their upcoming first-round contest. So the teams will be rested but perhaps rusty too. Ohio State's Chris Holtmann is arguably the coach of the year in college basketball.

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